on being nice

Recently I watched a Chinese soap opera portraying a spoiled little imperial prince. He treated all the servants like dirt and had no respect for his elders’ authority. I was thinking how different he is from kids in our era, who are expected to be nice and multicultural and polite. But then I thought it must’ve been because these princes were raised for a specific purpose: their education consisted in how to rule the kingdom and stay alive. Their education had nothing to do with getting along with other people. They literally had no reason to be nice.

Which made me think back to my niceness vs kindness debate, which I’ve briefly touched on before. Why are we nice? Is niceness for its own sake worth it? Often we are nice because, let’s face it, you won’t get far in life if everyone hates you. Continue reading “on being nice”

on shyness

I am what you’d describe as a shy guy, scared of talking to pretty girls.

Sounds innocuous, even charming. But here’s what’s wrong with that:

Shyness means I don’t want to talk to a pretty girl for fear of looking bad in front of her – I think I speak for nine out of ten guys who suffer from shyness (and in fact the Cantonese/Mandarin words for ‘shy’ are rendered 怕羞 and 害羞 respectively, both of which approximately mean ‘afraid of shame’) – but is this not simply pride and self-importance? Continue reading “on shyness”

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